Thursday, March 12, 2009

My (Eventual) Trip to Paris

This week's washingtonpost.com travel e-newsletter was all about Paris, which, naturally, got me thinking about my eventual trip to the City of Light.

I'm leaning heavily towards going in the Fall. I wish I could go in the summer, since my little sister will be there in July, but all other factors seem to be against that time of the year. For one, my lease ends in July, so I'll need to find a new place to live before the end of the month. And two - the real biggie - is money, of course. Flights, along with everything else, are so much cheaper in the Fall, and I'm already struggling to save enough for this trip.

But, enough of the things that are holding me back... I want to start planning my trip! What to see, what to do, all that stuff... While this trip is mainly for "research" purposes and exploring historical places related to the French Revolution, I definitely want to get a good vacation in too, of course.

So, I need your help!! I already have a list of places to go, but, fellow travelers, please let me know what you liked best of about Paris. If you went back, what is the first place you'd visit again? What was your favorite arrondisement, restaurant, cafe, museum, park, etc.? If there was one thing you wish you knew before you went, what would it be?

Here are a list of 'must-see' places that I've already decided on, mainly because they appear in the novel... or just because I want to visit them. =) But, please help me fill out this list with some of your favorite places.

  • Place de la Concorde / Obelisk of Luxor... one of my favorite scenes in my novel takes place here, with Anne standing beside the Obelisk and looking down the Champ Elysées. Is this even possible? That's why I need to go to Paris and see for myself! ;)
  • Tuileries Gardens... while the Tuileries Palace no longer exists, the gardens are just one remnant of the French Revolution.
  • Champ de Mars / Eiffel Tower (duh)
  • Versailles... mainly for the Musée Lambinet, where a bunch of Charlotte's portraits are exhibited.
  • Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine... I learned about this new museum from the Washington Post article. It documents 8 centuries of French architecture.
  • The Belleville quartier... one of the less-touristy and more-diverse parts of Paris, I've read that this neighborhood is one of the most electic in the city.
  • A graveyard... somewhere. I don't know where. But the little I've found about Parisian graveyards say they're usually attached to a church???
  • The third & fourth arrondisements... 17th century mansions galore. Enough said.

Okay, there's more places I want to see, but I'm going to leave my list like this for now. Add to it! Let me know what other must-sees should be on my list! Tell your stories of Paris! I recognize that I'm using way too many exclamation points, but it's only because I'm excited for this trip!!!!

Photo source: http://www.destination360.com/europe/france/paris.php

6 comments:

Andi said...

Liz - I can give you a ton of info for you. My husband is French and spent 10 years in Paris. We lived near Geneva for 3 years and went to Paris once or twice a month, so I have a lot of places for you! The cemetery name you are looking for is Père Lachaise Cemetery. You can see down the Champs from the Obelix. Email me at misadventureswithandi AT gmail DOT com and I can give you more info! Also, I am going in May and can "look" for things for you if you like!

Cheryl said...

OH, go to the Pompedu (I have no idea how to spell it but Gen would), Make sure you at least see the Opera House as it's beautiful, San Chappele, and Sacre Coeur. The two cathedals are beautiful.

Rachel said...

As Cheryl said, try to got to the Sainte Chappele if you can. It's amazingly beautiful (of course I have a soft spot for anything Gothic). Since you're interested in totally different things than I am I can't help much (I would send you to every church possible). To be honest I didn't eat, shop, or go out much when I was there because I was so busy running around looking at as much as I could. The Jardins du Luxembourg are very nice also if you just want a nice place to sit and watch people and eat a little snack.

Liz S said...

So much good advice! Thanks girls - keep it coming!

personal-mythos said...

That'd be the Centre Pompidou. Never been there, but it looks cool.

The subways are very convenient and sometimes you find some really good musicians down there.

I rather liked the Musée d'Orsay - the art is fairly recent, it's in a cool old train station, and it's small enough to see everything in a day, which made it a lot more enjoyable to me than the Louvre. The Louvre is still worth a visit, but you have to pick which parts you really want to visit because it's so huge and overwhelming. Some of the old French court paintings are pretty interesting.

I'll warn you, French menus can be hard to understand, and generally there isn't an English version. I went there after two years of high school French and understood almost nothing. If you're adventurous, though, it's not a big deal.

I've heard good things about the quartier chinois (Chinatown), which is actually more of a quartier indochinois (Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia).

Cheryl said...

oh, yes Musee d' Orsay is really cool. And be careful with the Louvre- it's really cool but some parts are closed on certain days.